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How to Stretch in the Office Quickly But Effectively

Woman smiling while stretching arms

Having a desk job may threaten your health if you’re not very careful. How come, you ask?

Well, apart from it being one of the common causes of a sedentary lifestyle, sitting for long hours at a time can affect your posture, too. And sadly, for the worse.

Not having the proper sitting posture may lead to undue tension and pain in your back, shoulders, and neck, and may even cause headaches.

So, what’s the best solution to the lack of movement given your desk job? Simple: stretching. Yep, a few stretches can do the trick!

Several studies revealed that regular stretching can bring enormous benefits to health, and may even improve your productivity meter!

It can release the tension building up in your muscles, relieve stress, and allow your whole body to feel more relaxed.

We’ve made a list of some quick, effective stretches that are perfect for desk job hustlers. Perform these flexibility exercises during your short breaks, and notice the difference!

Chest Stretch

Chest stretches are probably one of the best and most necessary exercises you can perform when you have a desk job.

Since most of the time you are hunched forward, performing this stretching exercise will enhance the flexibility and range of motion of your chest muscle group, which is crucial for a proper posture.

What’s more, chest stretches also help improve your blood circulation.

How to perform a chest stretch: To perform a chest stretch, simply stretch your arms straight out to the sides. Hold this wide arm chest stretch for 10 to 30 seconds.

If you don’t have any shoulder problem, you can perform another chest stretch variety. Take your arms behind your back, keeping them straight.

Clasp your hands if you can, and gently lift them a few inches up until you feel a stretch in your chest. Hold this position between 10 and 30 seconds.

Upper Back Stretch

Your shoulders and upper back are also two of the most commonly affected as they hold most of the stress from scrunching and typing. Upper back stretches help to relieve the tension that builds up in these areas.

These flexibility exercises are perfect for when you’re feeling tight in these areas and want to reduce the stiffness in your joints.

Upper back stretches also help to improve your overall flexibility, enhance your posture, reduce your chances of slouching, and relieve muscle stress or tension.

How to perform upper back stretches: Luckily, there’s a variety of upper back stretches that you can perform and they are all super easy! Here are some of them:

Neck rolls

You can relieve the tension building up in your neck and shoulders by performing neck rolls. Sit upright, and relax your shoulders. Slowly tilt your head down and roll it back and around to your right shoulder.

Repeat this process with the other side, rolling back your head and around to your left shoulder. Perform this movement 5 to 10 times for each direction, breathing calmly and smoothly while doing so.

Shoulder rolls

If you’re looking to get rid of the tension or stress that has accumulated in your shoulders, then shoulder rolls are your best bet! This stretching exercise also helps to reduce the stiffness and pain in this area.

To perform this exercise, simply pull your shoulders up to your ears and rotate them forward in big circles. Repeat this in a backward motion, doing 5 rolls per direction.

Should shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are another excellent way of easing shoulder stiffness and tension. It’s like performing the shoulder rolls but simpler.

Shoulder shrugs can be performed by straightening your back first and putting your arms to your sides. Lift your shoulders up as high as possible, inhaling as you do.

Hold your breath as you squeeze your shoulders as tight as you can for about two seconds. Put your arms back down, breathing out as you do. Repeat these steps 8 to 10 times.

Butterfly wings

Butterfly wings stretches are also a great exercise for your upper body. These stretches not only enhance your upper body circulation but also help to relieve the tension, soreness, and pain in your back and arms.

To do this, sit up straight, and place your fingertips on your shoulders, with your elbows pointing out to the side. Pull your elbows in front of you while keeping your fingers in your shoulders. Inhale as you do this.

Breathe out as you return to your original position. Perform this stretching exercise for 8 to 10 times.

Spinal Twist

Apparently, it’s not only your upper back that’s experiencing strain and stiffness when you’re seated for too long. It can, unfortunately, take a toll on your lower back, too.

You may also feel your lower back getting tight and achy after sitting for extended periods of time. But fret no more because spinal twists can help relieve the undue tension in your lower back!

How to perform spinal twist: Keep your feet flat on the floor as you remain seated. Place your left hand on top of your right leg, and hold the side of your chair with your right hand.

Engage your core as you gently rotate your torso towards the right. Keep your back straight and hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.

Repeat this on the other side, placing your right hand on top of your left leg, your left hand grasping the side of your chair, and your torso rotating to the left.

Remember to twist only as comfortably as you can to avoid causing undue strain and damage to your muscles.

Forearm Stretch

All that typing can strain your forearms, too. And you may not realize it until you give them a good stretch. This simple stretching exercise will help the muscles in your forearms and wrists get the break they deserve.

How to perform forearm stretch: Standing or seated, straighten your right arm downwards. Place the fingertips of your right hand to the palm of your left hand.

Using your left hand, gently pull your fingers towards you until you feel a stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds before releasing the stretch, then repeat with the other side.

Torso Stretch

No matter how much we try to pay attention to our posture, we always tend to hunch back. And this may lead to backache.

Performing this simple stretch will allow the muscles in your arms, back, and sides to move, easing out the tension that may have built up in these areas.

How to perform torso stretch: Standing or seated, stretch your arms upwards and lace your fingers with your palms facing the ceiling.

Inhale deeply as you keep your arms stretched up for a few seconds, then exhale as you put your arms down to the sides of your body. Perform this for 8 to 10 reps.

Wrist Stretch

If you’re spending the entire day typing on your computer, give your wrists a break by doing this stretching exercise.

This easy move helps to improve the flexibility of your muscles in your wrist area, reduce your risk of injuries, and maintain your hands and fingers’ flexibility.

How to perform wrist stretch: To build hand and wrist strength, you can perform desk presses. Seated, place your hands under your table or desk, palms facing up.

Press your hands upwards against the bottom of your desk or table. Hold this position between 5 and 10 seconds.

Seated Hip Stretch

Your thighs also get tight from long periods of sitting, and doing this simple stretching exercise will help loosen up your hips a little bit.

Any tension, strain or stress building up in your muscles in the glutes and hips will be relieved after you perform this very easy move.

How to perform seated hip stretch: Sit on the edge of your chair with your feet flat on the floor and your arms on the side, holding on to the chair.

Put your right leg behind you with your toe pressed against the floor. Feel the stretch in your hips and thighs. Return to your starting position, and repeat with the other leg. Repeat these steps 8 to 10 times.

Leg Stretch

Person stretching legs

Sitting for hours on end may also adversely affect your balance and mobility. It may also increase your risk of injuries, especially when you move suddenly.

To prevent this from happening, you can perform leg stretches. Aside from improving the flexibility of your muscles and your range of motion, leg stretches also enhance your blood circulation and posture.

How to perform leg stretch: Stand up and use your desk for support. Raise your right leg behind you, grabbing hold of your right ankle.

Lift your leg as high as you can, and hold this position for a few seconds. Repeat this with your left leg and perform these steps 8 to 10 times per leg.


Extended periods of sitting, which often happen in an office setting, have been associated with poor posture and circulation, and muscle strain.

But the good news is, these are preventable with a few good tricks. Adding periodic stretching to your daily work routine can help avoid potential problems that may affect your health and productivity.

Another great thing about stretching exercises is that you don’t need heavy equipment to perform them! These simple stretches can be done in the comfort of your work area.

So, move a little and enjoy stretching’s health and productivity perks! The secret is to find time to perform these easy exercises and stick with them.

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